Cruising Without Your Cell Phone
Teenagers in Moore County have been cruising the streets for the past month without the use of one all-important accessory -- their cell phones.
A new state law, which went into effect Dec. 1, has made it illegal for drivers under age 18 to use a cell phone while driving, unless teens are calling an emergency service or their parents. Hands-free phones and other phone activities like text messaging and games are also included in the ban.
If caught using a cell phone while driving, teenagers could have to shell out to pay a $25 fine and possibly have their probationary six-month driving period extended. However, the fine will not raise insurance rates or put points on a license.
This is yet another stipulation for teens who have had their driver's license for less than six months.
Those drivers are already prohibited from driving after 9 p.m. and from carrying more than one passenger in the car.
This law was prompted by some alarming statistics. Motor vehicle accidents are the leading cause of death for people 15 to 17 years of age. This law is intended to lower the number of cell-phone related accidents. North Carolina is the 13th state to institute such a ban.
Police officers say they will not attempt to catch any violator of this specific law, but if a teenager is pulled over for another reason, he or she also may be cited for a cell phone violation if the officer notices a mobile phone being used.
Although this ban is just for the under-18 group, a similar provision for adults may not be far off. The News & Observer of Raleigh reports that state legislators are considering eliminating car cell phone use for older drivers as well.
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